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Zorse

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Zorse
Zorse in Kenya.jpg
Scientific Classification
Binomial Name

Equus Burchellii × Equus caballus

Yawning Zorse
Zebroid 1.jpg

The Zorse is a hybrid derived be breeding a zebra with a domestic horse. Zorses, with proper training, can be used in a variety of riding disciplines, such as jumping, trail riding and the things that one may do with an average horse. They can come in all colors, have various builds and temperaments. The zorse will have stripes from the zebra parent, but the base color from the horse parent. There are two distinct combinations to producing a zorse: the crossing of a male horse and a female zebra will result in a hebra(an uncommon form of zorse due to the zebra mother) and the crossing of a male zebra and a female horse results in the production of a zorse.

Contents

Anatomy

A chestnut zorse mare with a traditional zebra Mohawk.

The zorse is a strong breed that is 3 times as strong as an average horse. The size and build of the zorse will vary depending on the type of zebra and horse used to create a zorse. Manes of a zorse may stand up in traditional Zebra Mohawk style, yet they will commonly flip over to one side of the neck like a horse. The mane will not grow long though. These organisms come in all the colors, but to keep the striped pattern for the zebra parent, breeders tend to stay away form a gray horse since the gray horse may carry the gene for the stripes to fade away as the zorse grows older (but can still be seen in the skin, just not the hide)[1]. Zorse's are well balanced but their body parts look as if they 'belong' to other equines. They have relatively straight legs and portray both traits of its parents. Short, thick necks are frowned upon by the judges in the show ring unless the breed standards in the parents allow a short and/or thick neck.[2]

Reproduction

A zorse is the breeding of a male zebra and a female horse. The rarest combination would be the hebra; a male horse is used to impregnate a female zebra. Because the hebra is out of a zebra mare, which take longer to produce a foal than a horse mare so they are usually reserved for breeding more zebras.[3] Zorse's are born with distinct male and female genders. Breeding behavior is present but since the zorse is a hybrid of a horse and another equine, (like a mule) they are sterile. Because males will act with stallion-like behavior (aggressive, territorial), they should be gelded (castrate a male equine) as soon as possible to avoid such results. Zorse mares will go into a heat stage like a horse mare, acting in moody ways.[4] The zorse will inherit the striped pattern and some of the conformation from the zebra sire. The horse mare contributes size, the other portion of coloration and the temperament that the zorse will receive. If the horse mare is foul tempered, the zorse foal will display the same temperament. Zorse's live for a long time, around 30 years, and have a stronger flight response like the zebra.[5]

Zebra

Zebra's are an African wild animal. Each zebra has a different and distinct stripe patterns, much like a human finger print. The zebra is a social animal, traveling in harem bands for safety from predators and for company. A harem band is a group of zebra mares lead by a single zebra stallion. The zebra is relatively stocky animal that lives for around 25 years.[6]

Horse

The horse is the most common example of the Equus family. Horses range in all shapes, sizes and attitudes. Horses are herbivores and travel in herds, like the zebra. The horse was once the main use of transportation in ancient cultures. These common creatures are found domesticated and wild, but the wild horses are descendants of tame horses that escaped or were "lost" and reproduced out in the wilderness. The only true wild horse is the Przewalski's horse. When looking to breed a zorse, it is best to choose a well tempered horse.[7]

Ecology

An up close picture of a zorse used on Mount Kenya.

The zorse is found on most continents in the world. They were originally bred in England and Africa, but can be found in the United States. As a hybrid of a zebra and a horse, the zorse is domestic and should be kept in a stable or a barn with other herd animals. Since the zorse has been created out of human invention, they are not found out in the wild, because the zebra is native to Africa.[8] However, the zorse, being a herd animal, need land to run and the graze upon with their friends. African zorses have predators in the form of lions, hyenas and crocodiles where they live in Africa.[9] Zorses can be used as show horses, driving, trail riding and more specifically, are used on the Mount Kenya Safari Club Wildlife Sanctuary to trek Mount Kenya since they are resistant to the fly's there.[10] Proper knowledge for horses and zebra's should be know before getting a zorse since they will tend to have more of a zebra stubbornness that a horse. Imprinting must be used if the zorse is to be ridden or handled.[11]

Origins

The crossing of zebra's to horses, donkeys, and ponies was originally started in England and Africa. The reason for the breeding was to create a horse-like organism that was resistant to diseases that were being spread by the tse tse fly in Africa. Because the zebra was native to Africa and had a natural immunity to the diseases carried by the tse tse fly, people began crossing the zebra with domestic horses and donkeys.[12] The crosses were becoming popular until the invention of the car in the early 20th century that replaced the need for horses and donkeys. Breeding was abandoned until the 1990's when interest began to grow among horse enthusiasts.[13]

Famous Zorses

  • Eclyse is a paint zorse. Most zorses are a single color with stripes, but this Germany born filly has blocks of stripes on her face and hind quarters, the rest is simply white.[14]
  • A zebra was left out in a field with a Shetland pony, then one thing lead to another and a zorse was born. This little 2001 born zorse inspired the London band, The Coronets to write and preform the 2003 song 'Song For the Zorse'.[15]

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